Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter with Toddlers. Bah! Humbug!

"She's 19 months old.  Does she really need an Easter basket?  I bought her a new rubber ducky (an obsession of hers) in the shape of a bunny in a basket.  I'll just give it to her when she takes a bath.  She'll love it.  An egg hunt?  Ummm, I am not sure she'll get the concept.  Besides, she isn't old enough for candy and she will just try and eat any coins we put in the eggs.  Why bother?"

Did you hear that?  Did you hear that ginormous hiss of air?  It was the collective gasps of mommies all over the world.  No Easter basket?  No egg hunt?  What kind of mom does that?

My husband would agree with all of those tsk-tsk-tsking mamas, because when I verbalized the above paragraph a day before Easter he looked at me as if I had 17 heads. I know you can't see me, but let me assure you that I don't have 17 heads.  However what I DO have is 17 past Easter experiences with my two children from a previous marriage.  And here's the thing, I have learned a LOT about parenting during those 17 years and I plan on using that knowledge to my advantage this time around. 

One thing I have learned is that when you have little ones, I mean REALLY little ones, say one or two or even close to three, they don't expect visits from magical, mystical, made-up bunnies.  They don't know about the colored eggs that get hunted on this particular Sunday.  They couldn't possibly understand the depth of the reason for the holiday.  They don't even know that Easter is a special day.  To a toddler a day is a day is a day is a day.

So why do we do it? 

Could it be, perhaps, we do it for us because of some strange idea of "must-do's" and "have-to's"  That feeling that as parents we're "supposed" to provide these experiences to even the youngest of our children.  When we're childless, moving towards that urge to procreate, these holiday scenes were what we conjured and imagined.  Sons in caps, plaids, and knickers and daughters in frills and pantaloons or those stockings with the ruffles on their bums, and of course a pair of patent leather Mary Janes.  In our holiday scenarios the kids blissfully tiptoe through a well landscaped yard with daffodils blooming finding hand painted eggs nesting in freshly cut grass. They set them in baskets trimmed with ribbons and lace and at the end of the hunt nibble delicately on a little jelly bean or a chocolate bunny's ear.  But mommies and daddies of toddlers know that isn't how it ever goes.  Ever.

As parents of toddlers, the pomp and circumstance never goes the way we dreamed.  The themed baskets that we worked hours on don't get a second glance or instantly get dumped upside down to the squeals and peels of toddler belly laughs. The Easter egg hunts end in melt downs or never happen at all due to a lack of interest or a lack of understanding the "hide and go seek" concept.  Despite our falsetto exclamations, ("OH MY!  Look at what the Easter Bunny left you!  Do you see those eggs behind the shrubs?  Listen!  Is there something IN the egg?  OH OH!  What do I hear?  What could it BE??") the toddler walks away to pet the dog or becomes engrossed in a blade of green grass that bends and tickles his or her ankle.     We spare them dyes and sugar on a daily basis yet we ply them with both on a particular Sunday morning called Easter, and then wonder out loud why they won't sit still and enjoy the Easter dinner that we spent the entire afternoon preparing. You know what I'm talking about.  Toddlers couldn't care less about the rituals that families carry on to honor their holidays.

But as first time parents, whether young or old, we indulge our mommy and daddy fantasies--trying to play out those idyllic situations.  And true to that, my husband,a first time daddy, in spite of my protests, insisted that our 19 month old daughter go on an egg hunt--filling a half dozen of plastic pink, yellow, orange store bought eggs with fancy stickers.  He insisted on the basket with the shredded poly fibrous green grass.  As I placed the rubber duck, book and marshmallow chick lollipop (bought...again after my husband insisted, and I quote, "It wouldn't be Easter without some kind of candy!" ) in the basket, hubby sighed wistfully and asked if there was a way we could, ehem, "jazz it up and make the basket pretty."  I told him that she wouldn't notice whether or not the basket was, um, jazzy or not.

And true to a toddler's nature, Ila woke up from her nap to a giant basket on the dining room table.  She took one look at the new rubber ducky sitting in the "unjazzy" basket, grabbed hold of it and immediately got down to play with it.  My husband, feeling a bit queasy at the slightest hint that the fantasy may not go his way, tried to engage her by oooing and ahhing over the other items in the basket, but she wasn't having any of it.  Feeling sorry at the dejection I witnessed take over my husband indicated by his slightly slumping shoulders, I took our daughter into the living room (and using my best falsetto voice) I said, "OOOO, Ila.  What do I see?  Did the Easter Bunny hide some eggs for you?  Look here!  Next to the TV!  Why I think there is an egg back there!  What do you think the Easter Bunny put IN these eggs he hid?"  But Ila didn't answer.  She was too busy spinning round and round watching her fancy dress billow out so that we could all see her fancy stockings with the ruffle on her bum.

23 comments:

  1. I agree Logan :)) My toddler was obsessed with her bunny tail & ears and never got to the egg hunting bit !!! The older one was on a sugar high so that was it for us:))

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  2. I don't blame you. It always felt silly doing much for my kid last year. This year, she's two so she can appreciate it and have fun, but last year... eh.

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  3. Love it! It's like Christmas morning when the little ones end up playing with the empty boxes and gift wrap, pushing the toys aside, lol.

    We do what we do to create memories and, believe it or not, the children do remember all the fuss we make. My three carry on the same way now with their kids.

    Precious photo of Ila...:)))

    Hugs,
    Patty

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  4. Thanks for the warm welcome on Bloggy Moms. I joined your GFC. My blog is WAHM Hosting Blog. Can't wait to connect and read more!

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  5. Love! I agree with you that we put high expections on holidays. My oldest put this into perspective for me when he was 2 and refused to see the bunny. When I looked at it from his perspective it was crept and unnecessary. To this day we write letters. Thanks for the warm welcome to Bloggy Mom. Check me out at kitchensinger.com

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  6. Oh my gosh, this cracks me up. I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old and I just got them some candy. No bunny came here this year! Found you from bloggy moms!

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  7. Thanks for the welcome on bloggy moms. Now follwoing and looking forward to reading your other post. I think its easy to get caught up in all of the hoopla for sure and you are right it really is not necessary.

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  8. Funny. Two of my kids are older (5 and 2 1/2)now so it is now worth it. But yes, I can totally get your husband's mentality (comes with the first time parent)..picture perfect LOL. I've just learned to lower my expectations. Will one of the kids be sick on Chrsitmas probably,cut their hair on picture day LOL I haven't gotten a Christmas picture yet without crying on Santas knee. Kids LOL.

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  9. Thanks for the welcome on bloggy moms! I'm now following along and hope you'll join me too. Love your writing style...it cracks me up!

    http://totallyfull.blogspot.com

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  10. I hear ya! Last year we took our son to a community Easter egg hunt. You know the kind -- where the eggs are all nicely laid out in plain sight and the children race to overrun each other and fill their baskets the quickest. I frankly remember quite a bit of anxiety associated with these "hunts" as a child!
    Since my son is the embodiment of competitiveness, I thought he would have no trouble "cleaning house" so to speak. Instead, when the whistle blew, he walked over to the first egg he saw, spent two minutes struggling to open it while we yelled "No! Put it in your basket! Go get MORE!" He finally got it open and marveled at the little chocolate bunny inside. He was thrilled. We could have gone home right then and there and he would have been happy as a clam. Instead, my husband and I continued to shout, "DON'T OPEN THEM! PUT THEM IN THE BASKET! GET MORE! MORE! HURRY!!! THE OTHER KIDS ARE GETTING THEM ALL!" And then suddenly I realized what I was doing and shut up. What values were we teaching our son? He was perfectly happy with finding an egg with a prize inside, and there we were telling him that it's not enough to enjoy what he has... he has to go get MORE MORE MORE than everyone else, or he's not doing it right. I think it's true that often these childhood "celebrations" are more about meeting the parents' expectations than about what the kids would really enjoy. Way to go having the courage to say it! :-)

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  11. We didn't do Easter baskets at our house either, too much commercialism in my opinion. Plus, my two boys could really care less. Thanks for the welcome through bloggy moms and I'm following you now. Look forward to your future posts!

    http://wvfrugal-wvsaver.blogspot.com/

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  12. Hi! Thanks for the comment you left me on Bloggy Moms :) I'm following and can't wait to read more. Hope you will take some time to visit my blog when you get the chance yourself! Have a wonderful rest of the week :)

    Sara
    http://www.inourbubble.com

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  13. Just wanted you to know that I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please check my site for the info!
    Thanks,
    Donna

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  14. Thanks for the welcome on Bloggy Moms! Love your blog! I'm following you with GFC. Come by and visit me at http://itsanadorablelife.blogspot.com

    XOXO,
    Kristy

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  15. new reader and follower
    http://www.adrianairis.com

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  16. newest follower from the maven of social media blog hop!

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  17. Hi, you wrote me a message on bloggymoms and finally got around to checking out your blog. It's so funny you would post this because my Easter weekend had a similar theme, only it wasn't me who insisted on giving my 13 month old an Easter basket, but one of her grandmas and my BFF. My BFF gave her toys which was fine, but her nanny gave her chocolate! I was like, "are you serious? Chocolate for a 1-year-old? Really?" I told her flat out she's not eating candy until she's at least 2, and nanny and the other relatives in the room all looked at me like they couldn't believe I'd say such a thing, like I was a mean mom or something.

    I could go on and on for my reasonings here, but I think the main reason is pretty obvious- she's only got 8 teeth for crying out loud! Does she need to lose them so soon? Her other grandma wanted her to dye Easter eggs. I had to put the kibosh on that as well, lol. Too funny.

    Well, I could go on and on here, but I'll stop and just say I'm glad I took a look and I'm now a follower, so I hope you'll check out my blogs and do the same. Thanks!!!!!

    http://jessica-healthymommyhealthybaby.blogspot.com/
    http://gardenofjessica.blogspot.com/

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  18. P.S. My tot was waaaayyy more interested in playing with the grass in the Easter basket she got from my BFF than anything else, lol.

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  19. Don´t worry there´s time for everything in life... In fact in my case it was just the opposite. We moved to Spain last year and Easter Egg Hunt???? What´s that???? My nephews are 8 & 6 and this one (I organized it with bunny ears we did ourselves and all) was their very first one... Want to see them? http://detodounlolo.blogspot.com/2011/04/cousins-1st-easter-hunt-el-1er-easter.html
    See you around
    Lolo

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  20. So very cute!!!

    New follower from Bloggy Moms.. Hope you can follow back!!!

    http://princessmomof2.blogspot.com/

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  21. Your blog is so adorable, I'm giving you an award. Come claim it at: http://fosterandboo.blogspot.com/

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  22. Good for you. There are many years to come when they are older and become aware of and demand Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, pocket money...!

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